Saving the Barn Owls

Day 1

A call from the neighbour saying they had found a baby owl on the ground in their garden and put it in a box could I come and help as they had no idea what to do with it. 

When I got there I asked to see the owls nest. It was so high up in an old derelict barn you would have needed a cherry picker to reach it. The barn was old and also unsafe to be in.  The neighbours had about 10 feral cats living there and they had already killed one of the the owlets.

Normally the barn owlets should be put back in the nest. Barn owls feed their young in the nest. Owlets on the ground will be ignored and probably die.  Due to the inaccessibility of the nest and the cats, I ended up taking the bird home.

I have a lot of experience with all kinds of birds, I also have a bird of pray which I have fed from a chick.  I gave the rescued chick a good meal which it ate hungrily. The bird was placed in a clean box and put in a safe out building. It was too late in the day to do anything else.

Day 2

My partner has a friend who works for conservation and after discussion the options he agreed the bird could not be put back where it had come from. We wanted the bird to go back to natural surroundings, if it were to be hand fed it would never be able to be released in the wild again.

After 1 1/2 hours drive the bird was handed over to our friend the conservationist who then took the bird to a specialist who was experienced in placing owls back into the wild. They ringed the bird and placed the owlet in an existing nest with chicks of the same age/size.  

I went to bed that night relieved the owl was back in the wild with a new family. 

Day  3

I woke up thinking how glad I was the owlet was where it should be.  

But then my neighbour called me at 7.30am apologising but she had found another chick outside the barn. They had not seen it the day before it must have been hiding. 

I rushed over with a box, the chick was a lot smaller than the last one and very weak. It dropped onto its side when I placed it in the box. We searched around the area to check for more chicks but we could not find any. 

I managed to get it to feed giving it small amounts each time. In the meanwhile a call to our conservationist friend was made once again. The Owlet picked up over the  course of the day. Then back in the car and again handed over the Owlet to our friend. This little one will also be rung and placed in a nest so once again it could be raised by parents in the wild. 

Barn owls normally have a clutch of eggs average 4 -6. I am only hoping there were no other chicks that fell and could not be found. I am so sad that one of these beautiful Barn Owlets was killed by the cats but so glad 2 were saved with the help of the experts. Even though we could not get them back with their parents, they are now safe in the wild with new families. 

If you find a baby owl please check with an expert before moving it. Some species of owls will feed their young on the ground if they come out of the nest. 

Day 4 

Phone call waking me up, yet another bay owlet.

This little chap is not doing too well.

My friend is away and I am unable to get him to a nest.

I spent the full day calling around owl sanctuary’s in my area, none will take him, the BTO and Barn Owl society and no one can help me with this little bird.

Each day the little fellow picked up and he was doing really well. My friend called me a few days after I had the owl and there was no room for him in any nests.

I continued feeding him and he was getting too cute. Then on day 7 I had a call that an animal hospital could take him until a nest could be found.  They think they will be able to place him with a family soon.

I leant so much about these birds over that week. And there seems to be an issue in places with some barn owls being homeless. Also some other birds of pray. 

I hope the 3 little fellows are successful and grow to adulthood  and I am glad I could play a little part to help to keep this beautiful species alive.